Biography

Dewey Crumpler (b. 1949, San Francisco, CA) examines the lure of contemporary pop culture in his mixed-media works, which explore global consumer capitalism. Crumpler employs the shipping container as a visual symbol to examine the long history of the world’s oceans to facilitate change. The display of colorful rectangular boxes filled with goods stacked in perfect symmetry is destined for exotic ports dotting the coastlines of every major city throughout the world. The uniformity of the shipping ports and their systems of operations become structures of authority and monuments of economic and cultural power. The oceans and the ships that cross them have played a central role in the transporting of human bodies and the dissemination of ideas and influences for the millennia. Like the ships, art has traveled from shore to shore often inside those vessels and assisted in producing change without the obvious effects of cultural disruption. Crumpler also focuses on time through the portrayal of shadows as time markers and the use of reflective materials combined with heavily saturated colors, representing the duality between the fleeting nature of the present spirit and the weight of memory.  

 

 

Dewey Crumpler is an Associate Professor of Painting at the San Francisco Art Institute, where he taught Kehinde Wiley and Deborah Roberts.  He was recently featured in a The New York Times article by Roberta Smith, speaking on his murals commissioned for George Washington High School in response to Victor Arnautoff’s The Life of Washington mural cycle after an outcry from the Black Panthers and others. In 2020, Crumpler will participate in an artist discussion at the de Young Museum in conjunction with their programming for  Soul of a Nation, and speak at the San Francisco Museum of Fine Art as part of their notable local artist series. Also in 2020, Crumpler will have a 15-year survey at the Richmond Art Center. He is in the permanent collections of the Oakland Museum of California; the Triton Museum of Art, Santa Clara, CA; and the California African American Museum. Digital images of his murals were included in the Tate Modern’s 2017 presentation of Soul of a Nation. He received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Grant, a Flintridge Foundation Award, and the Fleishhacker Foundation Fellowship Eureka Award.  Crumpler lives and works in Berkeley and San Francisco, CA.